My true love got us trapped here with my own time machine.
Not really her fault – or I hoped, anyway.
You see, she’s brilliant, powerful – and a shapeshifting cat who rules Ancient Egypt.
That last part doesn’t bother me, as long as she’s human at least part of the time. Otherwise, royal consorts have some benefits, too.
She brought me here with my own machine. And then it disappeared. Stolen. And now we’re marooned. But that doesn’t matter. Because even if none of my science background helps me, my heart just melts anytime she talks to me.
But if we’re going to get back, we’re going to have to do it soon – or I’ll be stuck with her here for the rest of my life.
While she lives on forever. Like she did before.
Tess again stalked up the long lobby toward my throne. Covered in road dust. Her consort Ernst was behind her. Both were in thin tunics and sandals. Tess was wearing an ornate head ornament with a cat’s head on it. Ernst wore a simple gold armband with a cat-head engraved into it.
Neither were happy.
“No luck?” I called out when they got into hearing distance.
They both shook their head no. And the sounds of their leathern sandals echoed off the long hall walls.
Tess and Ernst had to stay active. So they kept venturing farther and farther from the capitol to see if the time structure had changed enough that she could get some time bending done.
So far, she’d just come back from every trip more discouraged than ever before.
Tess was on talking terms with him again, somehow.
Ernst tried to cheer her up. Even got her to teach him about the ways of her people, and all the many names of her nieces and nephews, how they danced and celebrated.
– – – –
Why I’d left was because I couldn’t handle the death of my last, long-suffering lover. There, I said it. He was Prince of this part of Egypt. And my one true love. Immortal love. Even now, that thought of him and that loss lay heavy in my chest again. Being back in these stomping grounds in real life was quite a memory-shock. Like someone had just used a defibrillator while I was still awake and very much alive.
Despite everything else, I now had a royal empire to run. I’d set the time machine to have us arrive just after I’d disappeared the last time. Figuring that things hadn’t gone much to hell in such a short period. I was right. The get rich quick guys are always ready to move in. All my long history had proved that to me over and over. So I’d been busy for a while. Had to clean out the weasels, roll back some taxes, get the place running smoothly again. And, of course, keeping all my various peoples happy worshiping me.
When this long-halled throne room was crowded with people, their clothes and bodies tended to muffle the echoes. But since I needed time to think things through, when I felt the need, a small signal would get the many retainers to leave me alone and escort the crowds away.
Because they always did what their goddess Hermione commanded – who they knew as “Bastet”.
And in the echoing, empty throne room, those odd quiet moments gave me time to think things through. And round and round the thoughts flew. No solution, just an endless merry-go-round of haunted thoughts – that brought up long-unresolved memories. The only way to solve my present was to solve my long-dead past – which was here and now. Frustrated, I’d go out and do something, anything to get my mind off an unsolvable circular logic-problem…
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